Made in Estonia
The 1990s have cetainly been very progressive for Estonia that is now a member of the European Union and NATO, and rather successful for many of its active citizens. At the same time, in todays Estonia it is increasingly difficult for an entrepreneur to find qualified labour force and to remain compeitive on the basis of its existing advantages. Political rhetorics that follows the Lisbon strategy of the European Union aspires for large-scale private sector inestments into research and development. These ambitions, however, seem to exceed our capacity. Constant level of record high current account deficit is endangering the economic stability. This all compels Estonia to pay ever more attention to next generation policies that would ensure not only the stability of business environment, but would also provide the premises for successful long-term development. What kind of long-term investments would be most beneficial for the entrepreneurs in Estonia? What should the government do to secure growth in the real income of its citizens and in the export capacity of its enterpreneurs? What kind of policies should public sector follow in order to enable the enterpreneurs to employ business strategies that are not based on cheap labour and natural resources like they have been so far? What choices are there for a small transition country like Estonia that cannot afford major investments into multiple sectors? But should we prefer one or another type of investment, institution, strategy, policy, and on what grounds? This book draws on two assumptions: first, it is the task of public policy to decide between various options, and secondly, these decisions must be based on a solid analysis of existing circumastances and needs. Lack of a clear long-term target and the painfulness of structural changes that the society has to deal with are, however, among the major reasons why the efforts to develop knowledge-based economy have not resulted in much progress despite all the talk in Estonia as well as Europe. Today Estonia still does not, regrettably, have a consistent, truely forward-looking long-term development strategy. A broadly accepted strategy of this sort cannot emerge from behind governments closed doors. Hence, the following analysis also aims at posing some questions that require serious deliberation and discussion in our society rather than trying to offer any ultimate solutions.
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